The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has in agreement with other stakeholders, reinforced the need to close the digital gender gap for the collective prosperity of all, irrespective of gender, tribe, or political affiliations.
Inuwa encouraged girls and women with relevant technological abilities to harness their potential by upscaling their skills, in order to close the digital gender gap in the country.
The DG who was represented by the Deputy Director, Digital Economy Department, Dr. Amina Sambo, at the 10th Year Anniversary of the Nigeria Women in Information Technology, (NIWIIT) National Conference in Lagos, said this in his goodwill message with the theme, “Unleashing Innovation: Scaling Up Digital Skills for Women and Girls”.
Inuwa noted that bringing women to speed in the Nation’s digital economy journey is critical to the country’s long-term prosperity.
According to him, “Women and girls account for more than 50% of our population. At this age, building the digital skills of this population is one of the most strategic and wisest things any Government could embark on to unleash innovation in entrepreneurship and other frontiers for social and economic growth”.
While commending the organizers for bringing the digital gender divide concerns to the front burner at it’s 7th National Conference, the NITDA DG affirmed that the ongoing efforts will not only help the country to prepare girls and women for future opportunities but also for global competitiveness.
Inuwa who made reference to the African Developer Ecosystem report, observed that women and girls are faced with fewer opportunities to develop and explore the heights of their potential.
He said this can be attributed to perceived relegation of women folk to home keeping and childbearing, thereby truncating the potentials women carry, long before they can be developed, among other reasons.
In his words;”These realities remain more dominant in the developing countries of the world. While women in first-world countries also deal with problems of career resilience, their counterparts in poorer countries have the other hurdles of poverty, poor healthcare, and low standard of living to deal with, on a daily basis, thereby depriving them of a conducive environment to develop their potential”.
The NITDA Boss however expressed confidence in the possibility of changing the narrative, through reorientation and training in digital skills, which will equip women and girls with the knowledge they need to participate in the ever-growing global digital economy.
“Digital solutions and the requisite digital skills have the potential to create opportunities for women to make a difference in society and earn industry-standard fees for making such services available, further positioning themselves to export their skills internationally as real drivers of change”.
NITDA re-echoed its moves to make significant strides in empowering women to develop digital skills through the creation of various capacity building programmes and initiatives.
“We give women and girls special consideration in all of our initiatives and programmes. Women should not be discouraged; there are favourable reports about girls and women’s development. Therefore, there is a need to continue creating and strengthening awareness and preparing our women and girls for the challenge of today and preparing them for tomorrow’s opportunities”, the DG stressed.
He further maintained that the rapid rise of digital consumption in Nigeria has created a gap in the supply chain that highly skilled and trained women and girls in IT can fill.
Inuwa therefore assured the women group of the Agency’s excitement to be associated with them, affirming that NITDA will do it’s best to support the implementation of the conference’s recommendations.
On her part, the President of the Nigerian Women in Information Technology (NIWIIT), Dele Bayo-Osibo, who affirmed that the urgency for women to be included in the moving train cannot be overemphasized and must be intentional, affirmed that inclusion is the currency of the moment.
“NIWIIT must take on the baton and contribute her
quota to this clarion opportunity for building the Nation of the future”, she said.
She therefore expressed appreciation to NITDA and other collaborators for identifying with the platform and it’s projections.